Tuesday, September 20, 2016 07:00

Maas Thirteen | Empire of storms blog tour.

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I am happy to be back! This adventure all started with the Thirteen days of ash and fire and the fun continued with the Queen of Shadows blog tour and ACOTAR. So, of course I did not hesitate to be part of the Empire of Storms tour when I was approaced by Maas Thirteen. Make sure to check out all the previous stops, because everyone has their own content.

OFFICIAL TOUR SCHEDULE 

September 7 - Katie @ Polished Page-Turners
September 8 - Steph @ No BS Book Reviews
September 9 - Sarah @ What Sarah Read
September 12 - Kelly @ Belle of the Literati
September 13 - Louisse @ The Soul Sisters
September 14 - Gillian @ Writer of Wrongs
September 15 - Andi @ Andi’s ABCs
September 16 - Gina @ Behind the Pages
September 19 - Jaz @ Fiction in Fiction in Fiction
September 20 - Mel @ The Daily Prophecy
September 21 - Betty @ Book Rock Betty
September 22 - Rachel @ Hello Chelly
September 23 - Alexa @ Alexa Loves Books

Over the course of these five books, Sarah has created an interesting world. Together with Aelin and her court, we've seen many places and met different people. Today I want to explore all the information and recap some of the things we've learned so far. I used Throne of Glass wiki for my 'research' and the information is spoiler-free if you've read at least Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight.


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The entire continent is called Erilea, with the most important countries: Terrassen and Adarlan. 

Let's start with Terrassen, the country of the Galathynius monarchs who where rumored to be dead. It is the largest country in Adarlan's empire and was the first one the King of Adarlan conquered. The capital city is Orynth where Celaena/Aelin was born. Other cities we see mentioned in the book are Perranth (where Elide comes from) and Allsbrook. The cities are surrounded by two mountains; the Staghorns and the Anascauls. There is also Oakwald forest. East of Terrassen there is the North Sea, which leads into the Great Sea.

Aelin, 19 at the moment of Empire of Storms, is the child of Rhoe and Evalin Galathynius and heir of Brannon Galathynius. He was the first King of Terrassen. He was blessed by Mala and later married her when she turned mortal. They got one child: Elena Galathynius (who married Gavin Havilliard) He stole the Wyrdkeys from Meave. She is born from the line of Mab, her deceased great grandmother, which makes Maeve her distant aunt.

Aelin grew up in Rifthold, the capital city of Adarlan. It is led by the King of Adarlan, Dorian Havilliard's, 21, unnamed father. He found one of the Wyrdkeys and used it for his scheme to conquer the entire continent. During his reign he managed to conquer Terrassen, Eyllwe and Melisandre. Another important place in her life is Endovier, a town on the west side of Adarlan. Near the town are the Salt Mines where Celaena managed to survive until she became the Assassin of Adarlan. 

We've seen her train in the Deserted Lands, where she learned from the Silent Assassins in the Red Desert. Skull's bay with Captain Rolfe make a short appearance in the novella's too, because that's the place where she saves the lives of many slaves.

Nehemia, 19, came from Eyllwe. The capital city is Banjali. Adarlan ruled over Eyllwe and the people were often captures and sold into slavery, to the Calaculla slave labor camp. King of Adarlan allowed the royal family to retain their titles, reasons are never told.

Aelin's mother came from Wendlyn. It is ruled by the House of Ashryver and the current monarch is King Glaston, with his heir the crown prince Galan Ashreyver. The capital city is Varese. The house probably descends from Queen Mab. Aedion Ashryver is Aelin's cousin and Galan Ashryver her distant cousin. Doranelle is the place where Meave rules. Mora and Mab are her sisters. Rowan Whitethorn, 300+ years and descended of Mora, is her nephew. Her cadre is formed with Rowan, Gavriel, Vaughan, Lorcan, Fenrys and Connall.

Anielle is a small kingdom and Chaol, 22, is the heir. It is now ruled by his father, Lord of Anielle, and he has a younger brother Terrin Westfall. It is close to the White Fang Mountains, where something dark is happening throughout the series with Lord of Perranth (also named Vernon) at the head. Chaol grew up in Rifthold, so there is no information about Anielle.

Manon, 117, is the heir from the Blackbeak Witch clan. Her original country are the Wastes, divided in Western and Frozen. The Western wastes region was once ruled by Crochan witches. Manon is waiting to return and reclaim their land, but in Empire of Storms you find out that it will not be an easy task. The hold of Briarcliff is situated along the coast.

Fenharrow is briefly mentioned, because Sorcha's parents originally came from that country and we learn some things about Melisandre in Empire of Storms.

That's it! A brief summary of countries and some important characters.

BOOK INFORMATION 
TITLE: Empire of Storms, Throne of Glass #5
AUTHOR: Sarah J. Maas
PUBLISHER: Bloomsbury
PUBLICATION DATE: September 6, 2015
PAGES: 704 pages
The long path to the throne has only just begun for Aelin Galathynius. Loyalties have been broken and bought, friends have been lost and gained, and those who possess magic find themselves at odds with those don't.  As the kingdoms of Erilea fracture around her, enemies must become allies if Aelin is to keep those she loves from falling to the dark forces poised to claim her world. With war looming on all horizons, the only chance for salvation lies in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear.  Aelin's journey from assassin to queen has entranced millions across the globe, and this fifth installment will leave fans breathless. Will Aelin succeed in keeping her world from splintering, or will it all come crashing down?

Purchase: Amazon - Target - Barnes and NobleIndieBound - Book DepositoryWHSmithKoboiBooks - Audible

AUTHOR INFO author photo[1213369]
arah J. Maas is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Throne of Glass series and A Court of Thorns and Roses series, as well as a USA Today and international bestselling author. Sarah wrote the first incarnation of the Throne of Glass series when she was just sixteen, and it has now sold in thirty-five languages. A New York native, Sarah currently lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and dog.

She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Hamilton College in 2008 with a degree in Creative Writing and a minor in Religious Studies.

Author Links: Website || Blog || Twitter || Pinterest || Tumblr || Instagram



GIVEAWAY (OPEN INTERNATIONALLY) 
PRIZE: One signed copy of Empire of Storms, one Throne of Glass tote bag, one set of lip balms (Dorian, Chaol, Rowan) & one Celaena soap (c/o Behind the Pages) & Throne of Glass buttons (c/o ThroneofGlassPH)

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Saturday, September 17, 2016 16:57

Review 266. Melanie Dickerson – The captive maiden.

17679368Title: The captive maiden.
Author: Melanie Dickerson.
Pages: 302.
Published: November 23rd 2013 by Zondervan.
Sort: Stand-alone, companion to The fairest beauty.
Link: Goodreads.
Gisela's childhood was filled with laughter and visits from nobles such as the duke and his young son. But since her father's death, each day has been filled with nothing but servitude to her stepmother. So when Gisela meets the duke's son, Valten--the boy she has daydreamed about for years--and learns he is throwing a ball, she vows to attend, even if it's only for a taste of a life she'll never have. To her surprise, she catches Valten's eye. Though he is rough around the edges, Gisela finds Valten has completely captured her heart. But other forces are bent on keeping the two from falling further in love, putting Gisela in more danger than she ever imagined.
Rating:


I have mixed feelings about this book. I really went in with the idea I was going to love it, but I was a bit underwhelmed by the plot and the writing-style. There is a difference between easy and too simplistic. It was a bit chunky and it prevented me from being swept away in the story.

Gisela grew up with her horrible stepmother and two stepsisters after her father’s death. The only reason she endures the suffer are the horses: she can’t leave them alone. I thought it was sweet from her to care so much about her animals. One day,  she meets the heir: Valten. He invites her to one of his jousts and the end ball – they are practically in love right away.

When you read fairytales, you know that insta-love is hard to avoid. When it comes to retellings, I expect more. These stories are longer and have more opportunities to make it realistic. The fact that he falls in love for her beauty and kindness towards horses is rubbish. Being kind to animals doesn’t define you as a good person right away – but of course, she is practically flawless. There is also no character development and that made the characters feel flat. They were okay, but there is nothing special about them to make them stand out.

Dickerson tried to make the plot more spectacular by introducing another villain. This man hates Valten for winning and he will do everything to defeat him. I didn’t care for it and it made the story drag. There is this part where he bargained with Gisela’s stepmother, so he kidnaps her and wants to force her to marry him. She escapes with Valten, but are captured again and blablabla, it was boring.

Keep in mind that this book is a Christian book. There are random situations where they pray or talk about ‘the ways of God.’ Being someone who grew up with faith, it was still a bit too preachy for me.


Monday, September 12, 2016 06:00

Retelling September '16 | Dressing up a villain.

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Don't forget to tweet and Instagram with the hash-tag #fairytaleRC.

Hello hello! We are already in September and I hope you are doing great with your challenge. How many retellings have you've read so far?

Today I want to do something I did in the 2015 Fairytale challenge link-up in July and I thought it would be fun to dress up two fairytale villains! This is how I imagine them to look in our time.
Cruella
I imagine Cruella in a timeless black maxi dress with her red pumps as statement. Of course, a big fluffy coat and a fun necklace.
Mother Gothel
For some reason I see Mother Gothel as someone who would dress to impress. Really classy and sophisticated look with the color of her plum dress in the movie.

How would you dress up some villains?
Thursday, September 08, 2016 19:47

Get to know me: A to Z.

I found this post on Hello, Steph and I loved how it gave me more information about her as a person in a different way than normal get to know me posts. So, I decided to give it a shot!

A // Anxiety.
I think I have some form of anxiety. I used to have attacks, mainly during the night, which was terrible. I hardly got any sleep and I got afraid to do basic things; simply by thinking about them I would get anxiety. I'm okay now, though. Sometimes I have this social anxiety and irrational fear that I'm an outsider and that people only act kind to my face, but I try to let go of that.


B// Bullet journalist. 
I am still new at this, but I started my bullet journal somewhere in April this year and I am addicted to it. It has given me a way to get more rest in my head, less anxiety in my life and a way to use my creativity. It's a good way to practice my lettering, hand-writing and doodles - and I'm loving it.

C// Collector. I'm a book hoarder, I collect DVD's, I like to buy notebooks, I want to own everything I find with Disney on it and I am a big fan of Funko pops. Sometimes I'm ashamed about the amount of books I buy every month, but most of the times I'm just really happy with the collection I've acquired over the years.

D// Disney.
Everyone who follows my blog should know by now that I'm a big fan of Disney. It has been, and still is, an important part of my life. It is something magical to me and it never fails to cheer me up. Thinking about Disney, and specifically Beauty and the beast, makes me all fuzzy inside and I don't care what other people think, I will never grow tired of it.

E// Enthusiastic. If I love something, I can become quite the fangirl. I am a passionate person.

F// Family.
My family is a big factor in my life. They've always been supportive and caring. I grew up in a really close family with my father, mother, sister, grandfather and grandmother. We went on vacation together, sometimes even 3 times a year, until I turned 18. I feel blessed to have them around.

G// Games.
I love gaming, no matter what platform. I play PS3 games together with my boyfriend (Lego games are THE BEST), I recently purchased a Nintendo 3DS XL and I love play board games when we have people over. I also have a weakness for Red Alert 2, a computer game I always played with my father. It's such a fun way to entertain yourself and I'm quite competitive. I win quite often, but I can stand losing and I never ever cheat. Examples of games I like to play:
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H// Honesty.
Being honest is incredibly important to me. Trusting someone makes you vulnerable, so I need to be sure someone is always honest to me.

I// Interested. I have a curious nature and I always want to learn new things. Sometimes I miss going to school and I'm definitely looking around for courses that might interest me.

J// Jasper. We met at school. I had to redo a year and I was terrified to get in a new class. We soon became friends and after a year, we both finally dared to admit that we liked each other. It's almost 8 years now and he still gives me butterflies.


K// Kind. 
I like to think I am a kind person in most situations. If I dislike someone I have a hard time hiding it, so I will try to ignore that person, but overall I think I am nice to most people.

L// Lazy. I've never been an athlete. I'm not that flexible and most of my hobbies take place sitting down in a chair. I love swimming though, but when it comes to it.. I am quite lazy and I'm still planning to change that. It is one of my 'missions' this year.

M// Microbiology.
My passion. I love my work field and I'm a proud microbiology analyst in a laboratory in a hospital. The beautiful thing about this field is that it is all around us and ever changing. I like to keep track of all the updates and there is so much we have yet to discover. Fascinating. 

N// Netflix.
If I'm not reading, thinking about books, gaming or drawing, you can find me watching a movie or a TV show. I don't know if you are familiar with my TV show spread (you can find it over here), but this gives you an insight in the amount of TV shows I watch. I'm currently working on a list with shows I must see as soon as possible. I'm an addict and Netflix keeps me covered.

O// Optimistic. I am a happy person and I always try to look at situations with an optimistic view. Instead of focusing on the negativity, I try to look at everything I have learned from it and what I gained from it. Not always achievable, but it works in many cases.

P// Photography. I'm still practicing with my new camera, but I love to make photos. Instagram is my favorite social media (and I spend way too much time on it) and it is a good outlet to share my attempts to make good photographs.

Q// Quiet. I think this is the word people would use to describe me when they meet me for the first time (or arrogant, if they misinterpret my shyness). The bigger the crowd, the more quiet I get – unless I'm around family and close friends.

R// Retellings. This is also not a surprise to my followers, but I adore fairytale retellings. It is, next to fantasy, my favorite genre and I will devour any book I can get my hands on.

S// Summer. Hands down my favorite season. I HATE cold and rainy weather. My body seriously can't stand the cold and it makes me so cranky. Give me all the dresses, shorts, tanktops and sandals over thick sweathers, raincoats and boots.


T// Tea.
I hate tea. There, I said it. I've tried it so many times in different ways with different flavors, but I can't appreciate it. Water, syrup and juices for me, please.

U// Unique.
Because we are all unique (and I can't think of another word)

V// Vegetarian. I love meat and I will never stop eating it, but last year I've started to eat less of it and it feels great. I learn new recipes and ways to fill/spice a dish. It is important to me to eat healthy and this helps me to achieve that.

W// Wanderlust. I love to travel and see new cultures & eat different food. I have a fear of flying, but some day I will get over it and see more of the world. I have so many places on my bucket list and this year I crossed off Rome, Pompei and the Vesuvius.

X// Xylitol.
I'm a big fan of chewing gum. It's one of the things I always carry with me.

Y// Youtube.
I spend way too much time on Youtube. I watch all kinds of videos, from book hauls to make-up and hair tutorials. The moment I go on Youtube, I get sucked into this hole and sometimes I even wonder how I ended up with a certain video.

Z// Zodiac. I'm an Aries and I don't believe in Zodiacs.  If you read about Aries there are definitely things I can identify with; but I have the same thing when I read information about any other Zodiac.. It is a fun fact though that they say I am compatible with a Leo – and my boyfriend happens to be one. Guess I really picked the right guy!

And that's it!
Sunday, September 04, 2016 19:18

Review 265. Liesl Shurtliff – Red.

25885733Title: Red: true story of Red Riding Hood.
Author:  Liesl Shurtliff 
Pages:  288.
Published: April 12th 2016 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
Sort: Stand-alone.
Source: Netgalley and publisher. Thanks!
Goodreads 
Red is not afraid of the big bad wolf. She’s not afraid of anything . . . except magic. But when Red’s granny falls ill, it seems that only magic can save her, and fearless Red is forced to confront her one weakness. With the help of a blond, porridge-sampling nuisance called Goldie, Red goes on a quest to cure Granny. Her journey takes her through dwarves’ caverns to a haunted well and a beast’s castle. All the while, Red and Goldie are followed by a wolf and a huntsman—two mortal enemies who seek the girls’ help to defeat each other. And one of them just might have the magical solution Red is looking for. . . .
Rating:

Red has magical powers, just like her grandmother, but she is afraid of it. Every time she attempts to do magic, something bad happens and she refuses to use it anymore. When her grandmother gets really sick, Red decides to go away to find a cure. On her way she comes across two new friends: a wolf and Goldie, who wants to find a love potion for her parents.

I really liked how Shurtliff blended different tales into one story and how she switched up the roles of certain characters. It made is creative and fun to explore. There are even some nods to Rump, who was Red's best friend before her moved away. Red herself reminded me of Jack and how they are both brave enough to go on a journey all by themselves.

The best part however, was the growing friendship between Red and Goldie. Red has turned into a bit of a lonely, introvert girl. Everyone in the village is afraid of her and try to avoid her. This has made Red so independent that she first tries to turn Goldie away. Throughout the book we see how Red develops and changes around Goldie; the two become close and start to depend on each other.

The plot itself is interesting enough to keep you occupied. Red catches a dwarf and uses his knowledge to hunt down three cures for her grandmother's sickness, but they all come with a price. There is an important message in this book that Red starts to realize; sometimes the inevitable thing happens and you can't stop it. This makes this book heavier than the previous ones, but it handles it in such a way it is not too dark for children.

Overall, fun story with an unique spin on Red Riding Hood and Goldilocks.
Tuesday, August 30, 2016 18:25

Monthly recap August '16 | Harry Potter, Italy & sleep-over.

Monthly-recap_thumb6This post recaps my month: my personal life, all the books I’ve read & bought, movies and TV shows I’ve seen and links to posts that interest me.
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I can really say that 2016 has been an epic year so far. August was also filled with amazing moments that fill me with happiness. It started with the fact that my vacation started on August 1st. We booked a hotel in Brussels for three days, because we went to the Harry Potter expo! I really enjoyed this exhibition, where you could see all the real trinkets and costumes they used in the movies. I especially loved walking around the room where they recreated Hagrid's 'house' and the Great Hall.

Here are a few pictures to give you an idea:
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It has also been a while since I visited Brussels, so we had a great time wandering around the city. A few days later we celebrated my boyfriend's birthday, right before we left off for our 12-day tour in Italy. This was our first vacation together and it was great! The weather was A+, with only sun and temperatures around 30 degrees.

On Monday we left off for a stop in Germany.
On Tuesday we arrived in Toscane at Montecatini Terme.
On Wednesday we visited VATICAN CITY: the musea, Sistine chapel, St. Peter's Basilica and St. Peter's square with the Obelisk. Late in the afternoon we arrived at our hotel in Fiuggi Terme.
On Thursday we went to ROME, where we had a guide to walk us through the historical parts. We saw the Colosseum (only the outside though :(), Forum Romanum, Pantheon and Trevi Fountain. After that we had 5 hours of free time, so we had a pizza and then tried to see as many things as we could find. I LOVE Rome. This city has stolen my heart and I really want to return to see more.
On Friday we saw the MONTECASSINO ABBEY & NAPELS. I was disappointed by Napels, to be honest.. We arrived at our hotel in Castellammare, where we stayed for four nights.
On Saturday we went to the ISLAND OF CAPRI. What a beautiful island. We took the funicular to the top from Ana-Capri and we had the most fantastic view on the Vesuvius and other islands. Then we had a boat tour around the island, where we sailed through the Faraglioni rocks. If you kiss someone, you will stay together forever (or if you throw a coin over your shoulder, your wish will come through)
On Sunday we had another day I will never forget. We climbed the VESUVIUS, had a spectacular view, and then we went to POMPEII.
On Monday we went to SORRENTO, where we had a free day. National holiday, so in the evening there was a DJ at the hotel. Fun.
On Tuesday we drove around the AMALFI COAST and we visited AMALFI.
On Wednesday we started on our way back home. We had a stop in ASSISI for 2 hours and what a lovely place! Medieval buildings, my favorite. We went to our hotel in Montecatinni Terme.
On Thursday we had another stop in Germany.
On Friday we arrived at the station around 22:30.

Italy, I LOVE YOU and Rome, I will be back soon! Here some impression photographs (if you want to see some other shots, go check out my Instagram)
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Colosseum & Trevi fountain.
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Amalfi coast & Vesuvius.
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Pantheon & Faraglioni rocks.

We had the bookclub sleep-over here! Instead of our usual read-a-thon, we had a watch-a-thon. It was hilarious to watch the Shadowhunter TV show (and the terrible Vampire Academy) together. This show is SO bad, but entertaining at the same time. We also had a walk through a park nearby my house (where we tried to find Pokemons) Good times :)
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BrusselsBooksThis savage song

I found a Waterstones in Brussels, where I snagged a copy of The Cursed Child – and I used their offer for second book half price by picking Wolf by Wolf and Passenger. My signed copy from Nevernight came in the mail, together with a signed copy of This Savage Song that I won from Victoria Schwab. I finally bought a copy from Poison, which I loved years ago, and I had to by PS: I like you from my auto-buy author Kasie West. The Warrior Heir was a belated birthday gift from Daph, I got A World Without You in my Booklybird subcription box and I got a copy from Barefoot on the moon, because duh, Beauty and the Beast retelling.

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Read_thumb5 J.K Rowling – Harry Potter and The Cursed Child. 2/5. I will ignore the fact this story exists.
Megan Shull – Bounce. 1.5/5. Not for me.
Mira Grant – Parasite. 4/5.
Mira Grant – Symbiont. 3.5/5.
Claire LeGrand – Foxheart. 3/5.
Jen Malone – Wanderlost. 3.5/5.
Rhiannon Thomas – A Wicked Thing. 4/5. A re-read I liked so much more than the first time.
Rose Mannering – Feathers. 3/5.
Jessica Khoury – The Forbidden Wish. 3.5/5. Liked it, ending let me down.

Watched_thumb5 Movies.
The Hateful Eight. So weird.
Vampire Academy. The universe must hate me. Second time I had to sit through this terrible, awkward movie. There is not even a hot Dimitri to look at, ugh.

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TV shows.
Black Sails binge-watch. We flew through the three seasons and I'm really digging it. Season 3 crushed me, so many feelings!
Shadowhunters season 1, episodes 1-6 with the bookclub. I will miss the funny commentary from my friends. What a show..  AND I HATE "flat-chest" CLARY. You and asshole Jace deserve each other. Also, slutty and nice Isabel? Nope.

How was your June?
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